Can You Accept Criticism?

Statler and Waldorf from the Muppets!


There’s an old expression ‘If you have never made a mistake then you’ve never done anything new’. I would like to add my own, ‘If you have never been criticized then you’ve never made an important decision’.

The Myth: You must be immune to criticism to succeed in life

The Reality: You must be able to take criticism to grow and succeed

People who make decisions are always in a position to be criticized. Even if the criticism is just the fact that you’re in the position to make said decision [1]. Criticism is just a fact of life, but how you react to it is what defines you.


Here are a couple of things to remember when you’re standing in the blast of constructive[2] criticism:


Become tone deaf: This doesn’t mean ignore the criticism. That means you often need to listen to the information and not necessarily the tone or ‘the way’ the information is presented. Don’t disregard the message because you don’t like the messenger. Not everyone is an expert communicator or can turn a phrase as elegantly as I can [3] Most criticism is offered up as help but can come out as an attack. Ignore the tone and zero in on the info.


Don’t get defensive. Whenever someone disagrees with us or calls us out on something we may have done wrong, we get our hackles[4] up[5] and start defending ourselves.  Let it go and then:


Learn. Criticism is a great way to learn what you are doing wrong. Absorb the criticism, learn from it and:


Fix it. Correcting the problem is a great way to a.) stop further criticism and b.) avoid future problems. Which leads to[6]


Don’t do it again. Because if you do it again you’ll only have to deal with more criticism, only next time, the tone will be worse, you’ll get more defensive, they pull out a knife, you pull out a gun…it ends badly. That’s all I’m legally allowed to say.


Suck it up. Sure, being criticized is not fun. But if you want to succeed in life, you need to deal with it. You need to develop a tougher skin. People will criticize EVERYTHING! It’s the entire basis of the Internet. There is not a statement in the world you can make that someone somewhere won’t take the wrong way. Just be aware of what is worth listening to and what you should ignore.


Feel free to criticize me by leaving a comment below!

Learn more about Craig’s take on Negativity at his website 


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